When you become a surrogate, you will have a lot of responsibility. Being pregnant can be complicated enough but, when you are carrying a child for someone else, all of their dreams and goals sit on your shoulders as well. In addition to this emotional responsibility, you will also be required to undergo the complicated steps of the surrogacy process, giving your time, energy and body for a year or more to help someone else.
Therefore, surrogacy professionals set certain gestational surrogate requirements to ensure that prospective surrogates are really prepared physically and mentally for the potential challenges ahead of them. If you are hoping to become a surrogate in North Carolina, know that you will need to meet these surrogacy requirements before you can start the surrogacy process.
Like many surrogacy professionals, the Parker Herring Law Group PLLC sets certain criteria to be a surrogate working with our legal attorneys. We’ll list those requirements in this article but, if you have any questions about these requirements or North Carolina surrogacy laws, please contact Parker Herring at our law firm at 919-821-1860.
Screening Requirements for Surrogacy
Because being a surrogate is such a demanding process, there are certain qualifications for being a surrogate that all women must pass before starting this journey. One of the first requirements is undergoing screening from a surrogacy professional. This screening process is an essential first step to making sure a woman can meet all of the criteria for becoming a surrogate mother — to protect her and the baby’s health and safety during the surrogacy process.
Surrogacy requirements will vary by agency and fertility clinic, so speak with a local surrogacy professional to learn more about their particular requirements for surrogacy in North Carolina. Know that most of these professionals use the guidelines set by the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, which require that a prospective surrogate:
- Be within a certain age range, usually from 21 to 45
- Be of a healthy BMI, which is 30 or less
- Not smoke or use illicit drugs
- Not be on government assistance
- Have had at least one previous successful pregnancy and no more than five vaginal births or three cesarean deliveries
- Be currently raising her child(ren) in her home
- Have had no major complications in previous pregnancies
- Have no felony convictions
- Have no history of postpartum depression
- Discontinue use of antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications at least 12 months prior to surrogacy
- Be able to travel as needed for appointments
- Have a stable lifestyle and support system
Whether or not you meet these criteria to be a surrogate will usually be determined when you first contact an agency or clinic to start the process. These professionals will usually require you fill out an initial application that asks relevant questions about these requirements for being a surrogate.
To ensure you are physically and emotionally ready to be a surrogate, your professional will likely have you undergo the following screenings:
- Listing social and medical history: This may be a part of your initial application to be a surrogate, or this information may be gathered by your specialist after she approves your initial application.
- A physical examination: A fertility specialist will examine you and conduct lab work to ensure you are healthy enough to carry a surrogate pregnancy.
- An in-home assessment: Depending on the professional you choose, your specialist may visit your home and interview your family members to ensure you can provide a healthy environment for a baby developing in utero.
- Background checks: You (and your spouse, if applicable) will need to complete standard criminal records and background checks.
- A mental health evaluation: In addition to the physical demands of surrogacy, there are some complicated emotions, as well. Therefore, you will need to be evaluated by a mental health professional to understand the process you are committing to and the potential emotions you’ll have along the way.
While these screening requirements to become a surrogate mother may seem extensive, they are a critical part of ensuring that you are ready to commit to this family-building process. All intended parents must complete similar screening requirements for surrogacy, as well.
Medical Requirements for Surrogacy
All medical procedures come with a certain degree of risk, and the procedures involved in the medical process of surrogacy are no different. Therefore, it’s important that you meet the gestational surrogate requirements set by your agency or clinic to ensure your safety during this complicated medical process.
If you choose to become a surrogate, there are a few medical requirements you should be aware of:
- Medical screening: As mentioned, you will undergo a screening by a fertility clinic to ensure your body is ready for the challenges of a surrogate pregnancy. This will include laboratory testing that checks for sexually transmitted diseases and other communicable disease. Your doctor may complete an ultrasound to check the health of your uterus, and you will be screened for drug use.
- Fertility treatments: After your legal contract is signed, you will begin taking fertility medication to prepare yourself for the embryo transfer process. These medications could include injections, blood tests and pills as your doctor regulates your cycle for the in vitro fertilization process.
- Embryo transfer: The embryo transfer is a relatively quick and painless procedure, but it will require you to travel to the intended parents’ fertility clinic and potentially spend a night there.
- Prenatal care: After your pregnancy is confirmed, you will receive prenatal care and checkups from your local OBGYN. The intended parents may join you for some of these appointments.
Legal Requirements for Surrogacy
Finally, there are a few legal requirements to become a surrogate mother. While there are no North Carolina surrogacy laws that regulate who can and can’t be a surrogate, there are a few legal steps that are necessary before you can begin the medical process of surrogacy.
Before you can become a surrogate, you must complete a legal contract with the guidance of a professional surrogacy attorney. This contract will outline important aspects of your surrogacy goals and preferences, including:
- Possible risks
- Your responsibilities as a surrogate
- Relinquishment of the child
- And more
The Parker Herring Law Group PLLC can always represent you during the drafting of this surrogacy contract. Like your other surrogacy fees, your legal expenses will be covered by your intended parents.
Our law firm also requires that your spouse (if applicable) sign your surrogacy contract and undergo the same background screening as you before you can begin the medical surrogacy process.
While these qualifications for being a surrogate may seem extensive, remember that this is a complicated family-building process wherein intended parents are counting on a surrogate to make their parenthood dreams come true. Meeting these surrogate mother guidelines ensures that the surrogacy journey is a safe and positive one for all involved.
To learn more about the legal qualifications for being a surrogate mother in North Carolina, please contact our law firm.